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The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an American dramatic horror film directed by Wallace Worsley. It is based on the 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, or, Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo. The film stars veteran actor Lon Chaney in the role of Quasimodo - one of the most important and laborious works of the silent era. The film was produced by Carl Laemmle for Universal Pictures and is currently in the public domain.

Plot Edit

Quasimodo is a deformed (deaf and half-blind) bell-ringer of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Jehan Frollo, the evil brother of the saintly archdeacon Claude Frollo, prevails upon him to kidnap the fair Esmeralda, the adopted daughter of Clopin, who is the king of the oppressed beggars of Paris' underworld. The dashing Captain Phoebus rescues her from Quasimodo, while Jehan escapes and leaves him. Phoebus is entranced by Esmeralda, and takes her under his wing. Quasimodo is sentenced to be lashed in the public square. As he suffers under the sting of the whip, Esmeralda pities him, and brings him water.

Quasimodo later hates Jehan for betraying him. Jehan and Clopin both learn that Phoebus plans to wed Esmeralda. Clopin leads the beggars into the house of Phoebus' fiance, where Phoebus has brought Esmeralda and disguised her as royalty. Clopin demands Esmeralda be returned, and Phoebus only does so after Esmeralda says that she does not belong with the aristocracy. However, Esmeralda sends him a note, to say goodbye to him a last time.

During their meeting in Notre Dame, Jehan stabs and wounds Phoebus and lays the blame on Esmeralda. She is sentenced to death, but is rescued from the gallows by Quasimodo and takes refuge in the cathedral, where Archdeacon Claude invokes the sacred right of sanctuary, protecting her from arrest. Clopin leads the whole of the underworld to storm the cathedral that night, while crafty Jehan attempts to loot the treasure vaults. Quasimodo routs the invaders with rocks and torrents of molten lead, and kills Jehan by throwing him off the ramparts of Notre Dame. Just before he does, however, Jehan fatally stabs Quasimodo in the back with his knife.

Phoebus comes to the rescue and encounters Esmeralda. As she and Phoebus clasp each other to their hearts, Quasimodo rings his own death toll. Esmeralda and Phoebus leave without even noticing that Quasimodo is mortally wounded, but Claude enters just in time to see him die. After ringing the bell, Quasimodo dies. The last image of the film is the great bell, swinging silently, holding the corpse of Quasimodo.

Cast Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • Production on The Hunchback of Notre Dame began on December 16th, 1922. Principal filming concluded on June 5th, 1923. While some scenes were filmed on location in France, the rest were shot at Universal Studios in Universal City, California.

See also Edit

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. 1929 sound reissue only.
  2. 1939 sound reissue only


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